Why do we care?
Why should it matter to the Attorney General that you know about healthy relationships?
What makes relationships work? Two things, basically. You must make good choices about the people in your life. And you must develop the skills needed to hold up your end of a healthy relationship: Read more about what makes a relationship healthy.
Relationship skills are important in all relationships. You can build them in your non-romantic relationships. Practice them with parents, teachers, and friends. Then, if and when the time comes for a more serious kind of relationship, you will have the confidence, security and skills to help make sure it is a healthy and rewarding experience.
- Be honest. Put what you're thinking or feeling out there, respectfully. Don't hold things in and allow them to build up.
- Listen carefully. Pay full attention when the other person talks. Listen for the words AND the feelings.
- After listening, check out your understanding. Repeat what you heard and have the other person confirm or correct your understanding.
- Avoid negative patterns. Examples are criticizing, blaming, demanding, thinking the worst, trying to read the other person's mind, etc.
Conflict is a normal part of any relationship. Learn to recognize conflict. Don't avoid it or deny that it's happening.
Discuss relationship conflicts in private, not in public. Listen to each other carefully when you disagree. You might need to put off the conversation until you can listen calmly and carefully.
You can practice these skills in any relationship, not just a romantic one. You can practice with your parents, your friends, classmates and teammates.
In a romantic relationship, you need to be able to build and maintain trust. To do this, you must first discuss your expectations with your partner and make sure you're on the same wavelength. Then you must behave in a trustworthy way. This means honoring any commitments you make. If your partner is trustworthy, show that you trust him or her.
Respect your partner's personal limits and boundaries. There is no use trying to hold your partner to a commitment he or she is not ready or willing to make.
Why does it matter?
You might wonder what the Attorney General's role is, when it comes to healthy relationships. Eventually, most of you will marry. Most of you will be parents (if you are not already). The law says that parents are responsible for protecting and supporting their children. Children must have financial, emotional and medical support in order to grow up to be healthy, productive members of society.
The Office of the Attorney General is the child support agency for the State of Texas. This means it is our job to enforce the law that requires parents to support their children.
When parents marry and maintain a healthy relationship, they can work together to provide their children with a healthy and supportive environment. That makes our job easy.
When parents don't marry or don't remain in a romantic relationship, they can still work together to provide the best for their children. Even if they are not romantically involved, parents need to maintain a healthy relationship that enables them to make good decisions for their children and to make sure their children have everything they need.